MESOP SUMMARY : International Concerns about New Offensives Against Islamic State

Iraqi forces near Fallujah are still working to complete their perimeter of the city and they are not ready to push into the city yet. “There’s not much going on — why are you in such a hurry?” an Iraqi military commander told the BBC. Shia militias continue to play an active role in the operation, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif pushed back on Saudi criticisms of Iran’s role in Iraq. “We will leave Iraq whenever Iraq asks us to. And we will help Iraq to confront terrorism, as long as Iraq wants us to,” Zarif said, calling Saudi criticisms of Iraqi affairs “arrogant.” Elsewhere in Iraq, the Islamic State has banned satellite television in Mosul, saying it promotes brainwashing.

In Syria, the High Negotiations Council has asked for clarification about the goals of the Syria Democratic Forces offensive against Islamic State-held territory near Manbij and along the Turkey-Syria border. The SDF is comprised of mostly Kurdish fighters, and the HNC noted that these groups have at times come into conflict with other opposition groups. Turkey has also been vocal in its concerns about the Kurdish element of the U.S.-backed offensive.